The New Middle Ages

I don’t agree with everything Eric Jager says in his LA Times op-ed piece, but I will second his strike at “presentism” or our predisposition to view contemporary times as the summit of knowledge and enlightenment looming above the ignorance and intolerance of past ages. I find this particularly irritating when public figures in past …

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Photos from Turkey

Steve continues to experience computer problems that make it impractical to load posts into Blogger, but he does have e-mail. He was able to send me these dog and bird photos from his trip that I have loaded below. The dog photos were taken in rural Kurdish areas and the pictures of birds are from …

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The Alligator at Machado Lake

Matt first posted back in August on the story of an 8-foot alligator that was found in Lake Machado in the Harbor City area of Los Angeles. It was obviously a released pet, and was a two-week media sensation in the city. People came out to the 54 acre lake to try to see the …

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Attack Chihuahuas

A police officer in Fremont, CA was attacked by a pack of vicious chihuahuas while making an arrest. He was taken to the hospital, treated for ankle-bites, and released. It’s tough out there!

William W. Howells, RIP

William Howells, a giant in physical anthropology, has died at 97. He was a stalwart of the “second generation” of anthropologists in this country. Anthropology as a modern social science was founded in America by Franz Boas, a German immigrant, who established a department at Columbia University in the 1890s. He trained the first generation …

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Seasons Change

Here in Southern California seasonal changes are a lot more subtle than most of you are used to – certainly much more than I was growing up in Tennessee. I have joked to Steve and Matt that I sometimes have to check the latest Cabela’s catalog to see what season I’m in. One of the …

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The Bible in Gullah

Gullah is a Creole English dialect spoken by the descendants of slaves in the Sea Islands of Georgia and in low coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina. I remember learning about this dialect (called Gullah in South Carolina and Geechee in Georgia) when I took intro linguistics at Tulane. This tells the story of …

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Beale Street Bordellos

Having grown up in Memphis, I was intrigued by this account of historic archaeologists uncovering the remains of houses of prostitution off Beale Street there. These date from around 1900-1915, when Beale Street was a cultural and entertainment center for blacks in Memphis and the Mississippi Delta. It played a key role in the development …

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Long Term View of Climate

You may recall a couple of weeks ago, I complained that most reports on climate in the mass media took too short a timeframe to be meaningful. Yesterday the New York Times finally produced one of very few articles I have ever seen in the popular press that does put current temperature data in a …

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Norman Vaughn, RIP

Norman Vaughn passed away over the Christmas weekend. Vaughn did so much in Arctic and Antarctic exploration – back to the Byrd expeditons in the 1920s – it’s hard to believe he is gone at age 100. I mean you have to admire any man who completed six Iditarods after age 70! You can read …

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